DSS image of Betelgeuse
Overlaid DSS image of Betelgeuse, 60' x 60' with north at top and west to the right

Aladin viewer for the region around Betelgeuse
Betelgeuze, Kaulua-koko, Alpha Orionis, α Ori, 58 Ori
BD+07 1055, HD 39801, HR 2061, WDS J05552+0724, SAO 113271, GSC 00129-01873, HIP 27989

Type  Star
Magnitude  0.42
Right Ascension  5h 55' 10.3"  (2000)
Declination  7° 24' 25" N
Constellation  Orion
Classification  M1-M2Ia-Iab
Observing Notes

Andrew Cooper
Dec 29, 2019    Kaʻohe, Mauna Kea, HI (map)
46cm f/4.5 Newtonian, Deep Violet @ 175x
Seeing: 6 Transparency: 7 Moon: 0%

Bright, orange, about half the usual brightness at about 1.4 in place of the usual 0.6, the dimmed appaearance distorting the appearance of this iconic constellation

Andrew Cooper
Jan 5, 2008    Pu'u Kuainiho, HI (map)
28cm f/10 SCT, NexStar 11" Gypsy @ 80x
Moon: 0%

Bright coppery color, the hue quite notable with a little defocus, no apparent companions

Captain William Henry Smyth
Oct 16, 1836    No. 6 The Crescent, Bedford, England (map)
150mm f/17.6 refractor by Tully 1827

A standard Greenwich star, with a distant comes, on Orion's left shoulder. A 1, orange tinge; B 11, bluish, and the two point nearly upon a pale small star in the np quadrant, at Δ RA 15s.7 The object forms 39 ♅. VI., and was thus registered:
    Pos. 152°18' Dist. 161".72 Ep. 1780.78
[WDS 155° 176".10 2014 ]
It is called Betelgeuze, from ibt-al-jauzá, the giant's axilla, or shoulder, whence it is also menkib-al-jauzá; and it has likewise been designated al-mirzam, the roarer. It is the northernmost of the four bright stars forming the corners of this constellation, and cannot be mistaken by the most casual observer: moreover, with Sirius and Procyon, it forms a conspicuous triangle, which is nearly equilateral; while Procyon makes a right-angled one with Betelgeuze and Pollux. It is hardly necessary to diagram this well-known and splendid group; but possibly there may be a beginner who would wish for the following figure, as a guide.

H. has recently pointed out this fine star as being variable and periodic, and he thinks the most obvious conclusion is, an annual, or nearly annual period; but further observations are necessary for the confirmation: on his star-list the maximum was stated as above Rigel,, the minimum below Aldebaran. It was suspected of a wide proper motion, but the ordeal of the best observations reduces it so greatly, that it is now barely entitled to registry.

Orion may be considered the most beautiful and brilliant of all the constellations, without disparaging the Great Bear; and when just over our meridian, is so well accompanied, as to present the finest view of the heavens in this hemisphere. The principal stars of Orion, when joined by imaginary lines, form two inverted cones, and resemble a clepsydra, or hour-glass. He is usually represented as a classic warrior; but Paulus Venetus, De cōpositione Mūdi, equips him in knightly armour, with a huge club in one hand, a formidable human-faced shield in the other, and a long Toledo sword by his side: and this is also the style in which he figures among the illustrations to Julius Firmicus, in 1497. It is a paranatellon of Taurus, and as the ecliptic passes nearly through its middle, it is visible to all the world; while its figure, belt, and pendant sword, so well described by Manilius, render it of easy recognition: hence it is written:
    Orion's beams! Orion's beams!
His star-gemmed belt, and shining blade;
His isles of light, his silvery streams,
And gloomy gulfs of mystic shade.
No constellation was more noted among the ancients than Orion. As it occupies an extensive space in the heavens, this circumstance may have probably given Pindar his notion that Orion was of a monstrously large size; and hence the jugula of Plautus, the magni pars maxima cœli of Manilius, and the jebbér of the Arabians. Hood tells that "the reason why this fellow was placed in heaven," was to teach men not to be too confident in their own strength. But though his name was long ago bettered from Oarion or Arion, and he has been notorious as the Candaen of the Bœotians, the Hyreides of the old astrologers, and what not, the world will not yet agree in the nomenclature; as may be seen in the astronomical glossary of that redoubtable anti-Newtonian, highte Sir Richard Phillips, late sheriflf of the good city of London. Following Nasíru-1 dín, the name is El-Jebbár, the hero; but, says Ideler, not Algebra, as is sometimes written in the astrognostic books. A disciple of the unhappy Lieutenant Brothers proposed to designate the whole asterism Nelson: and in 1807, the University of Leipsic resolved, that the stars belonging to the belt and sword of Orion, as well as the intermediate ones, "shall in future be called the constellation NAPOLEON." Was that learned body in possession of a copy of Thomas Hood's treatise?

The present appellation, however, is of too long a standing, and has too firm a hold on men's minds, to be easily shaken; and, despite of his dirty origin, it seems "this fellow" must stand. Both the Septuagint and the Vulgate call it Orion, according to the Greeks and Romans. It is mentioned in Job, Ezekiel, and Amos; and the Mosaicists persist that it represented Nimrod, as mighty a hunter as Orion, and the author of the post-diluvian heresy*. From his terrible and threatening gesture, as much as from his time of rising, he was held to portend tempests and misfortune, and was therefore so much dreaded by the mariners of yore, as to give rise to the ancient proverb "Fallit saepissime nautas Orion." Polybius attributes the loss of the Roman fleet in the first Punic war, to the obstinacy of the consuls, who, despite of the pilots, would sail between the risings of Orion and Sirius, always a squally time. The Latin writers are full of invective against pluviosus et tristis Orion; while the nimbosus of Virgil, the nautis infestus of Horace, the aquosus of Propertius, the horridus sideribus of Pliny, and the like sage allusions, fill the imagination with storms, hail, and deluges of rain. Added to this, we are reminded by Hood that this asterism was "the verie cutthrote of cattle:" and Hood was not addicted to astrology.

This constellation is a rich mine for the practical astronomer, as containing a wondrous universe of bright stars, double stars, clusters, and nebulae, within itself. The Capuchin de Rheita asserted that, with his binocular instrument, he found more than 2000 stars in it; and where he is not dwelling upon Teutonic crosses and seamless tunics, he will be found worthy of credit. What may be telescopically obtained will not be decided, perhaps, until some amateur astronomer undertakes to map and tabulate it; for such work is out of the line of duty of the regular meridian observatories. The number of stars whose mean apparent places have been noted, are:
    Ptolemy . . . . 38 stars     Bullialdus . . . 61 stars
Ulugh Beigh . . 38 Hevelius . . . 62
Tycho Brahe . . 62 Flamsteed . . . 78
Bayer . . . . 49 Bode . . . .304
The reader of course will remember that the equinoctial circle cuts the middle of Orion; which is also about 8° west of the solstitial colure, or soils statio. Nor will he forget the trimming which Halley gave Père Souciet, about the Dodecatemorion of Aries, Newton's chronology, and the equinoctial colure.

* Orion was designated Khesíl, or Kesíl, by the Hebrews, which the learned say comes from chasel, to be inconstant, to stir up, in allusion to the unsettled weather supposed to attend this constellation. Hence Rabelais has pleasantly called the grand Council of Trent, the Council of Chesil, to denote that it was a stormy, fickle, and troublesome meeting. Has the Australian term of being chiselled, any affinity with this?
― A Cycle of Celestial Objects Vol II, The Bedford Catalogue, William Henry Smyth, 1844

Steve Coe

Period Irr; 0.4-1.3m; Betelgeuse
― SAC Red Star Database
Other Data Sources for Betelgeuse
Nearby objects for Betelgeuse

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